Mesa resident Craig Eaton longed to do something meaningful for his community, but between a busy real estate career and his property management company, he had little time to volunteer. After some thought, he remodeled his home kitchen, revisited his chocolate-making hobby and kicked off Spero Chocolate to support children and families in need. Today, Eaton makes nine varieties of small-batch organic chocolate bars ($5-$6), donating proceeds to three charities: Hope Fund at Phoenix Children’s Hospital; UMOM New Day Center; and Care Fund, a nonprofit that helps families with hospitalized children pay mortgage and rent. Spero Chocolates are swaddled in colorful boxes and named for places in Arizona, such as Grand Canyon Majestic, Mesa Mint and the most popular, Scottsdale Blonde, a blend of white chocolate kissed with lemon. In Latin, spero means hope. “We’re investing in the hope of our future, our kids,” Eaton says.
Hatch Chile Rubs & Sauces
Growing up in New Mexico, Michael Neuweiler cultivated a love for green chiles. After moving to Phoenix, he made a yearly pilgrimage back home to pick up his annual supply. “We put green chiles on everything,” he says. To that end, Neuweiler makes a mean Hatch green chile rub and seasoning for meats and poultry and killer green chile beef jerky, both of which he sells online and at farmers’ markets as Green Chile Smokehouse. Inspired by a white barbecue sauce his brother-in-law picked up in Alabama, Neuweiler also makes a roasted Hatch green chile Awesome Sauce ($10) to put on burgers, pulled pork sandwiches and tacos. “People put it on everything and also use it as a dipping sauce,” he says. The name Awesome Sauce was born from his family’s reaction to the mayonnaise-based, smoky elixir, which comes in two heat levels, original and inferno. “It’s just awesome.”
Green Chile Smokehouse
When Danielle Leoni and Dwayne Allen of The Breadfruit & Rum Bar became disenchanted with their ginger beer supplier, they experimented with making the sassy carbonated beverage themselves. “We aren’t chemists. I’m a chef and he makes cocktails,” Leoni says. “Dwayne went down the rabbit hole of chemistry and, about a year later, came out with a formula.” Recipe in hand, the couple launched Big Marble Organics and rolled out their small-batch, non-alcoholic ginger beer (prices vary), perfectly suited for mules and other ginger-centric cocktails. They formulate and bottle the beverage locally and can produce up to 400 cases an hour. Although most folks will mix the ginger beer with spirits or beer, it can also be swigged solo, Leoni says. Bold and slightly spicy, the beer is available at local retailers around the Valley.
Big Marble Organics